Mass. Eye and Ear Launches Collaboration with Bay State Council of the Blind to Improve Access

January 24, 2017

Media Contact:
Erin Duggan | Office of Communications | Mass. Eye and Ear
617-573-3756| Erin_Duggan@meei.harvard.edu
DeAnn Elliott | Chair, Legislative Committee | Bay State Council of the Blind
deann.elliott@gmail.com


January 24, 2017

Mass. Eye and Ear Launches Collaboration with Bay State Council of the Blind to Improve Access

(Boston) - In partnership with the Bay State Council of the Blind, Massachusetts Eye and Ear today announced the launch of a comprehensive initiative to ensure that persons with visual disabilities have full and equal opportunity to the best possible care.  

The five-year initiative includes:

  • Providing improved patient and visitor forms, documents, publications and materials in alternative formats 
  • Developing and implementing annual training for staff on disability awareness
  • Adopting a website accessibility policy 
  • Enhancing signage

The Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB), an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, is a leading consumer advocacy organization of people with visual disabilities in Massachusetts. Mass. Eye and Ear, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, is ranked #1 in the nation (otolaryngology) and #1 in the Northeast (ophthalmology) by U.S. News & World Report. This partnership reaffirms both organizations’ commitment to enhance the quality of care for people who are blind or have low vision.

BSCB President Brian Charlson said, “As more and more of us lose some or all of our sight as a matter of age and other contributing factors, access to quality eye care such as that provided by Mass. Eye and Ear has become essential. Access to eye care is not only a matter of availability, but of accessibility as well. The membership of the Bay State Council of the Blind is proud to work with Mass. Eye and Ear on making their fine services more readily available to those who are blind or visually impaired through improved signage, adherence to website accessibility standards and the provision of alternative document formats such as braille and large print.”

Mass. Eye and Ear President and CEO John Fernandez said, “Mass. Eye and Ear is proud to partner with the Bay State Council of the Blind on this important endeavor. We were founded on the mission of providing the highest quality of care and service excellence and are always looking for opportunities to enhance our ability to deliver on this commitment.” He added, “In addition to enhancing overall access, Mass. Eye and Ear created an internship program for visually impaired individuals designed to build skills for job placement.” 


About Massachusetts Eye and Ear 
Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. Now united with Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass. Eye and Ear is the world's largest vision and hearing research center, developing new treatments and cures through discovery and innovation. Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships. Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex. In the 2016–2017 “Best Hospitals Survey,” U.S. News & World Report ranked Mass. Eye and Ear #1 in the nation for ear, nose and throat care and #1 in the Northeast for eye care. For more information about life-changing care and research, or to learn how you can help, please visit MassEyeAndEar.org.

About the Bay State Council of the Blind
The Bay State Council of the Blind is the Massachusetts affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, one of the country’s two largest consumer advocacy organizations for people with visual disabilities. For more than 50 years, the ACB has worked to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life for blind and visually-impaired people. The Bay State Council of the Blind is a non-profit organization that brings together people with visual disabilities and interested sighted individuals to provide support to members, educate the public about vision loss, and advocate at the local, state, and national level for full social, economic, and political inclusion. For more information about the BSCB, please visit www.acbofma.org.

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